GAZA, (Reuters) – A top United Nations official voiced concern on Thursday over the closure by the Hamas Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip of several non-governmental organisations in the Palestinian enclave.
“This targeting of NGOs, including U.N. partner organisations, is unacceptable, violating accepted norms of a free society and harming the Palestinian people,” Robert Serry, the U.N.’s special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a statement.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said the offices of six organisations, including care centres for women and children, were raided by members of Hamas’s security forces between May 31 and June 1. “The de facto authorities must cease such repressive steps and allow the re-opening of these civil society institutions without delay,” Serry said.
Hamas officials were not available for comment.
Youssef Abu Amr of the Sharek Youth Forum in the southern city of Rafah said Hamas security men gave them no reason for closing the office of his organisation. “They just told us the office would be closed and employees should stop all activities,” Abu Amra said.